After about 50 hours of game play so far, I am ready to declare Civilization VI the most Civilization-like entry in the storied franchise, which means some of you will love it more than all the rest and some of you will hate it more than any of the others.
What do I mean?
Civilization VI embraces the one thing all the rest of the games in the series have wanted to be with gusto: being a grand strategy game. Let’s face it, in the end the first five games often degenerated into little more than turn-based combat games with heavy emphasis on tech research and building. Civilization VI retains those traits while also introducing a whole new level of planning that requires the player to be thinking about how to win the game starting with the first turn.
The way the game does so is by clever use of the victory conditions and city districts. The victory conditions are no longer simply matters of who accumulates the most points and can be contended from the start of the game.
More importantly, the game breaks the city out of a single tile, forcing the player to consider how to expand each city by placing districts on tiles the city controls. this fact forces the player to specialize cities from the beginning of the game.
While these elements add a whole new level of play to Civilization VI, the game is hardly perfect. The religious system is vague and brutish and makes the religious victory less enjoyable than it could be. The game is missing diplomatic and economic victories that would help balance the game play. As has been true with every version of Civilization, the diplomatic system is inscrutable and annoying. That said, keep in mind this is the vanilla version of the game, and previous versions of the game have benefited from their later expansions.
All in all, I really like what Firaxis and crew have done with Civilization VI. It’s a good game with the potential to be great, and I will stick with it to see what the future holds for it.
First look rating: 4/5